Newly-elected President Biden wasted no time getting right to work in the Oval Office after the inauguration on Wednesday. Biden signed fifteen executive orders and two other directives, including orders to require masks and social distancing on federal property and rejoining the Paris Agreement, both of which cut directly against policies that President Trump had instituted while in office.
The Washington Post reported that one of President Biden’s “most pressing” priorities is to take steps to “combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic.” President Biden tweeted that wearing a mask “isn’t a partisan issue” and that “It’s time to mask up, America.”
The President then visited the Lincoln Memorial—a federal property—and forgot to wear a mask while addressing the media, though the members of the media wore masks. In a clip from C-SPAN, President Biden is shown standing in awe looking at the Lincoln Memorial, he is almost completely alone, and was said to be wearing his mask prior to and immediately after leaving the memorial.
Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein shared photos of President Biden’s grandchildren posing for photos at the Lincoln Memorial, also without masks. New Press Secretary Jen Psaki actually announced the launching of the new 100-day mask mandate while she herself was not wearing a mask, for which she took some criticism.
See all of President Biden’s executive orders and remarks at the new WhiteHouse.gov website.
Protests around the nation in response to Biden’s inauguration
Meanwhile, protesters clashed with cops in multiple cities, including Portland, Oregon. Newsweek reports that around 150 antifa protesters vandalized the Oregon Democrats headquarters on Wednesday night, just hours after Biden’s inauguration. Videos circulating on Twitter show the protesters dressed in black, playing drums and shouting “F*** Joe Biden.” At one point during that protest, an occupied car was flipped over on its side.
Sergeant Kevin Allen of the Portland Police Department said that his team responded with tear gas after his team was pelted with rocks and eggs, and the protesters began to vandalize the Democrat building. Prior to that event, police had arrested at least eight people on suspicion of criminal mischief.
In Seattle, Washington, at least three people were arrested as of Wednesday evening for a tense demonstration that began to turn violent as protesters began damaging buildings and lit an American flag on fire, according to KOMOnews.com. No injuries have been reported.
In Denver, Colorado, demonstrators burned American flags outside the capitol shortly after Biden was inaugurated. Local Fox News affiliate KDVR reports that protesters at that demonstration were carrying flags representing Black Lives Matter and a communist party. It was unclear who had organized the protest, and the messaging seemed to be unclear as well—one protester told reporters they were “tired of the discrimination.”